Many of our guests choose to drive to Kennicott in order to enjoy the scenic countryside along the way.
Approximate Driving Times
|Anchorage to McCarthy||314 miles||7.5 hours|
|Fairbanks to McCarthy||374 miles||9.5 hours|
|Valdez to McCarthy||176 miles||5.5 hours|
|Glennallen to McCarthy||125 miles||4 hours|
|Chitina to McCarthy||60 miles||2.5 hours|
|Denali N.P. to McCarthy||395 miles||11 hours|
The last 60 miles of road before you reach Kennicott (between Chitina and McCarthy) is a State maintained gravel road, passable by any passenger car, that follows the path of the historic Copper River and Northwestern Railroad. The State did extensive work on the road during the summer of 2012 and it is now in better shape than ever before. Here are a couple of tips for driving on the road.
- It usually takes 2 - 2 ½ hours to drive the McCarthy Road.
- The speed limit for the McCarthy Road is 35mph. If you stay under the speed limit, the risk of a flat tire or car damage is minimal.
- The road is wide enough for two lanes in most places and the State has brushed most of the road to increase visibility. However, the road is still narrow in some places, so you should to watch out for other traffic.
- The number of flat tires on the McCarthy road has decreased drastically in the last few years, but it is still a good idea to carry a good spare tire. There is a tire repair shop at the end of the road during the summer months if you do have a problem.
For more information, you can visit the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park McCarthy Road website.
The End of the Road
The McCarthy Road ends at the Kennicott River, approximately 1/2 mile from the town of McCarthy. In 1997, the State built a sturdy foot-bridge across this river.
There is a free parking lot for Kennicott Glacier Lodge guests 1/4 mile before the footbridge. This parking lot is on the left and the sign says “Visitor Information.” There is an attendant at the lot from 10am to 7pm. Just tell the attendant that you are staying with us and they will call us. The attendant will drive you and your luggage to the footbridge. If you arrive after hours, there is a courtesy phone at the footbridge you can use to call us.
You must walk across the footbridge and the Kennicott Glacier Lodge shuttle van will pick you up on the other side. It typically takes 20-25 minutes for the shuttle to reach the footbridge after we are notified of your arrival.
Please note that dinner at Kennicott Glacier Lodge is served one seating at 7pm. If you wish to have dinner with us you should plan on arriving at the footbridge no later than 6pm.
The Kennicott Glacier Lodge shuttle will pick arriving Guests up at the footbridge until 10pm. If you arrive after 10pm, transportation can be arranged for a fee. Please let us know as early as possible if you will be arriving after 10pm.
Due to recent improvements on the McCarthy Road, several rental car companies now allow their vehicles on the McCarthy Road.
Budget Car Rental: Budget will allow standard SUV vehicles on the McCarthy Road if you provide proof of full insurance. Call the Budget Car Rental office in Anchorage toll free at 800-248-0150, or 1-907-243-0150 from overseas.
Go North Alaska Travel Center: All 4 wheel drive vehicles can drive on the McCarthy Road. Available in Anchorage or Fairbanks. Call 866-236-7272 or 907-479-7272.
High Country Car and Truck Rental: This is an Alaskan owned company that has allowed their vehicles to drive on the McCarthy Road since 2005. Call 888-685-1155 or 907-562-8078.
Shuttle to Kennicott
If you would like to leave the driving to someone else, you can take a shuttle from Glennallen or Chitina to McCarthy.
The Kennicott Shuttle: This scheduled shuttle runs seven days per week. It departs Glennallen at 7am, stops in Chitina at 8:30 am, and arrives in McCarthy at 11:00am. It departs McCarthy at 4:30pm, gets to Chitina at 6:30pm, and arrives in Glennallen at 8:00pm. The cost is around $130 per person roundtrip. Call 907-822-99573 for details.
However you decide to get to Kennicott, you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the best scenery in Alaska. If we can help with your travel plans in any way, please call or email us.